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Commands or Directions

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Commands or Directions

Postby lonelytraveler8 » Mon 11.09.2009 1:02 pm

I've been meaning to ask this for a long time and always seem to forget when I'm actually sitting in front of my computer. How would you go about telling someone to do something, such as "go to bed" or "brush your teeth"? Perhaps if someone asked for directions, you might want to say "go down this street and take the second left." How would you say the "go down this street" part?
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Re: Commands or Directions

Postby Mike Cash » Mon 11.09.2009 2:19 pm

lonelytraveler8 wrote:I've been meaning to ask this for a long time and always seem to forget when I'm actually sitting in front of my computer. How would you go about telling someone to do something, such as "go to bed" or "brush your teeth"?


It depends. What is the relation between the two people?

Perhaps if someone asked for directions, you might want to say "go down this street and take the second left." How would you say the "go down this street" part?


It depends. What is the relation between the two people?

(The major difference between this situation and the first one is that unlike in English, one would not use the imperative construction).
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Re: Commands or Directions

Postby lonelytraveler8 » Mon 11.09.2009 3:11 pm

Oops, well...I meant to specify that I'd like to know how to say it in multiple forms. I'm not really looking for a "Go to bed" that a parent might say a child. Hmmm...

I'm looking more for a situation like this:

Person 1: Where can I buy something to drink?
Person 2: Go to the convenience store around the corner.

Directions like that.

To answer your questions directly: The relationships that I'm most concerned with are those between two friends, or those where the speaker is younger or of lower status (student vs teacher).
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Re: Commands or Directions

Postby ss » Mon 11.09.2009 9:11 pm

I don't know which are the best and most natural ways of saying this, but I would like to try.

どこで何か飲むものが買えますか。
where could I buy something to drink ? (下の文より丁寧 知らない人に聞く時とか)

どこで何か飲むものが買える?↗(文の最後を上げて言う)
where can I buy something to drink?(上よりもcasual 友達に聞くときとか)

どこでお飲み物が買えますか。
where can I buy a drink? ( usunally, someone who ask don't use お for 飲み物. ( maybe because お飲み物 is the thing you are going to drink and you don't put お to make it higher rank ( 自分が飲むものなんだから、へりくだって、丁寧な言い方にしない) if you are the person "worker" and are talking to the customer, you use お飲み物 like 「お飲み物はいかがですか?( the customer who is higher rank than the worker drinks that drink, then the worker should treat the drink with polite way)
Or if you say in that way as a customer, you sound like someone of a noble family :XD

どこで飲み物が買える?
Where could I buy a drink? That is almost the same way to ask like the first and second sentence, the difference is 飲み物 and 何か

around the corner means "nearby", right?
近くのコンビニエンスストアに/へ行く。
近くのコンビニエンスストアに/へ行こう。 (this one is more to "let's go to a convenient shop nearby)
近くのコンビニエンスストアにへ行きます。

Sorry, does it sound confusing? :twisted: :lol:
Last edited by ss on Mon 11.09.2009 10:15 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Commands or Directions

Postby Hyperworm » Mon 11.09.2009 9:58 pm

Also going to try!
(Sorry this still doesn't count as a definitive answer to your question :lol:)

すみません、この辺りに飲み物を売ってるところはありますか?
はい、そちらへまっすぐ行って、二つめの角を左に曲がるとすぐそこに商店があります

This seems like exactly the kind of thing that would be covered early on in a textbook so if I've made a mistake here... >_>;
well it'll just show I've never really used one properly ... >_>;
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Re: Commands or Directions

Postby lonelytraveler8 » Mon 11.09.2009 11:12 pm

Hyperworm wrote:This seems like exactly the kind of thing that would be covered early on in a textbook so if I've made a mistake here... >_>;


It does seem like it would be the kind of thing you'd encounter early on, but I don't recall having ever encountered it.
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Re: Commands or Directions

Postby keatonatron » Tue 11.10.2009 8:06 am

lonelytraveler8 wrote:It does seem like it would be the kind of thing you'd encounter early on, but I don't recall having ever encountered it.


Now is as good a time as any.

http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/requests
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Re: Commands or Directions

Postby lonelytraveler8 » Tue 11.10.2009 10:05 am

Thank, Keatonatron! I really think I'm going to have to read all the way through Tae Kim's guide soon. I just don't recall seeing any helpful methods of practice within it.

So, I was slightly wrong. I've learned about and used ~ください plenty of times, but how often is ~なさい or just ~な used? The な examples (なさい with the さい part dropped) seemed to express the kind of directions I was trying to describe previously.
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Re: Commands or Directions

Postby Lucas89 » Tue 11.10.2009 10:38 am

I always though you would just use ください if you have to end on a request/command type word.

次の角を左へ曲がってまっすぐ10分ぐらい行ってください。

In my mind なさい doesn't make much sense unless you are commanding them to do something rather than just being polite.
I've never really thought about this before but I think i've just seen ください.
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Re: Commands or Directions

Postby Astral Abraxas » Tue 11.10.2009 10:55 am

You can find the structure similar to Hyperworm's used in 130-131 of Genki 1 textbook. I thought I saw it somewhere in here so I had to look it up D:
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Re: Commands or Directions

Postby keatonatron » Tue 11.10.2009 9:01 pm

lonelytraveler8 wrote:I've learned about and used ~ください plenty of times, but how often is ~なさい or just ~な used?


You hear なさい a lot when mothers are talking to their young children.
The な variant can be heard when teachers are being firm with their students, or friends are rudely commanding each other.

You wouldn't use either of these for giving directions, though. (It's much more common to say "if you turn left and walk straight a bit, it will be there on the right.")

な(さい) has a very firm sound to it, which means it's only really used for giving commands of some importance (e.g. "that's full of germs, put it down!", "Your classmate is making a presentation, sit down and be quiet!" etc)

When making actual requests (not commands; e.g. do this for me please), it's much better to use ください or, when talking to friends, "XXてくれない?"
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Re: Commands or Directions

Postby magamo » Thu 11.12.2009 10:52 am

lonelytraveler8 wrote:I've learned about and used ~ください plenty of times, but how often is ~なさい or just ~な used? The な examples (なさい with the さい part dropped) seemed to express the kind of directions I was trying to describe previously.

There are two kinds of なさい that forms a "firm but polite request" Tae Kim speaks of. One is a transitive verb and is a softer version of しろ, せよ, and なせ, all of which are "Do it!" Since it's a transitive verb, you put an object. Here are examples:

よく考えて返事をなさい。Think carefully before you make your decision. (as in someone asks you a yes-no question about an important thing and gives you 1 hour to think about it.)
いい加減になさい。Give me a break, Cut it out, etc. (This sounds softer than いい加減にしろ。)

You can add し so it reads しなさい without changing the meaning much. Actually しなさい seems more popular. A stereotypical very polite traditional lady would use the し-less version more often than others at least in fictional novels and such. You don't use (し)なさい when talking to a person of a higher rank.

The other なさい is an auxiliary verb (or subsidiary verb depending on your textbooks). This also forms a soft command or a firm but polite request if you will. Usually it is used when you give a soft command to a person of the same or lower rank. You attaches this to a conjugated verb (continuative form) or the root of a verb. For example:

落ち着きなさい。Calm down. (Attached to the continuative form. This sounds softer than 落ち着け.)
努力なさい。Work hard. (Attached to the root. You can also say 努力しなさい like the above example. The difference is very subtle.)

In some cases, you can even soften this なさい farther by adding お or ご:

お待ちなさい。Wait. (This is still a command, but sounds much softer than 待て. The original 待ちなさい is slightly firmer.)
ご覧なさい。Look. (For some reason you don't say 覧なさい etc. 覧 always follows ご when used in this sense.)

There are general rules as to when to attach the continuative form and when to use the root, and the rules are also related to お vs. ご. While these things are also important, explaining these ugly rules won't help much. I guess it'd be easier to learn these through reading and listening.

By the way, なさい in some fixed phrases/greetings such as ごめんなさい and お帰りなさい was the same as this in a grammatical sense, but it lost its meaning as the phrases get more and more greeting-ish.

The casual version (i.e., dropping さい) is pretty common, but as is the full version, usually you don't use it when talking to strangers.
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